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The Incidental Blacksmith


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In a backyard forge, Barnaby spends hours meticulously creating his own bush knives with hammer, tongs and steel – practicing the forgotten art of blacksmithing. Based in the Northern Rivers, both Barney and his wife have a lived experience of deafness. For many years, Barnaby experienced the loneliness, isolation and anxiety that often go hand-in-hand with having a disability. Barney used the internet and a newfound confidence thanks to his mentor to form a community of friends, who, along with his growing family and appetite for learning new skills, helped him find his way out of isolation.

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Barnaby is a loving partner, dad, uncle, son, brother and friend. Barnaby works as an operations manager, but his real passion is knifemaking and blacksmithing. In 2017, he won an Arts Council of Australia grant and has exhibited his work at the Sydney and Queensland Knife Shows. He is currently gearing up to go for his Australian Knifemakers Guild full membership. Barnaby is an active member of his local deaf community and the founder of Northern Rivers Knifemaking and Blacksmithing Group. Barnaby welcomed his third child during filming of The Incidental Blacksmith.



Susie makes documentaries that focus on social adversity, environmental challenges and other under-represented subjects in mainstream culture. She describes her style as “observational and lyrical documentary filled with an intimacy that reveals the subject’s inner world”. Behind the camera and in the edit she uses her training in fine art to look for rhythm and aesthetic beauty in shots and has made films about diverse subjects such as art, rubbish, rugby, indigenous custodians, natural birth, coal seam gas and disability.


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